Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi ★★★★★

Rian Johnson, in fashioning the ninth film in the Star Wars saga, tells a story of old women and men who have tired of war. These women, these men, heroes all, face the churning currents of youth and are forced to put aside legend in order to temper vigorous, young fighters whose teeth were cut on myth surrounding said heroes. There is the force, there are droids, and there are lightsabers, but Johnson, in his "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," creates a story that stands apart from the trappings of Star Wars, paying close and smart attention to shifting mythology and deeper meaning. The film is a rowdy and thrilling epic that dares to have something to say about itself.

Shot through with gleeful visual panache and exhilarating spirit, "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" casts its thematically daring fantasy-adventure in a ravishing light. Not content to simply rework the beats of Campbell's hero quest in a galaxy far, far away, Johnson and company tailor a piece of cinema that comments on its legacy and archetypes while never failing to entertain in the most exuberant of manners.

The film is a pulpy gem that pulses with Saturday matinee flair and classic cinematic beauty. Johnson's compositions are vibrant, his colors fetching, and his cuts meaningful. The story is told through its filmic elements as much as in its spoken dialogue and action.

That dialogue and action, calling on the traditions echoed in George Lucas' first Star Wars film, is ripe. The words feel formed both on the pages of comic books and by the poetic murmuring of Homer. The action is swift and fun, popping with an electricity driven by heartfelt heroism and special effects spectacle. This is a Star Wars film, and it is defined by its soaring musical strains, iconic characters, and space opera pomp.

In the end, the weight of the narrative at work in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" may be difficult to process in one viewing. For the saga devotee, there is almost too much to take in as the cycle's heroes come to the end of their journeys with a mix a weariness and relief. This, however, may be the film's most enthralling stroke of cinema telling as the film's tale of tired warriors becomes one focusing on a brilliant and uncertain future where youth will be served and heroes will never be forgotten.

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